Days -1, 0: Logan, UT for a wedding
Day 1: Logan --> Salt Lake City --> Goblin Valley State Park
Day 2: Capitol Reef (2 mile hike) --> Bryce Canyon ( 4.3 mile hike) --> Zion
Day 3: Zion (8 mile Observation Point hike)
Day 4: Zion (hiked the Narrows) --> Grand Canyon by way of the Vermillion Cliffs --> Page, AZ
Day 5: Waterholes Canyon (3 miles hike) --> Monument Valley --> Santa Fe, NM
Day 6: Meow Wolf, thrift shopping, saw Annihilation (that's a whole other thing, phew!) --> Albuquerque
Day 7: White Sands National Monument --> Albuquerque
Day 8: Fly home! (that was today)
For my first time experiencing the southwest, I must say, my mind was blown. This is some of the most stunning land I have ever seen. Somehow each destination was completely different from the last, a new take on canyons or hoodoos or some other erosion-based earth formation—buy day 4 my brain was turning to mush trying to comprehend the time periods and processes that got us from ocean-covered North America to the present highly dramatic formations.
I was blown away by the varieties of colors of the earth: reds, pinks, oranges, ochres, whites and browns, offset by the strange plant life that thrives in desert climates: olives and icy greens and purples. And the textures: blobby, glorpy "goblins," jagged hoodoos, intense cliffs, arches, sheer vertical drops, juxtaposed with rounded, smoothed sandstone, loose sand dunes, crumbling buttes and mesas and spires.
Most of these destinations I feel we got to spend enough time hiking or exploring that I got most of what I wanted out of the stop. The exception is this: since we only did a mere drive-by of the Grand Canyon, the most insane of all of them, I feel like although I technically "saw" it, I didn't get to truly experience it, and thus have some serious unfinished business there. Perhaps a rafting trip or other backcountry adventure? I could spend weeks there, it's so vast.
I'm grateful for the incredible earth I've witnessed, and for my partner in crime for taking this awesome adventure with me. Hoping to see more of it soon!